Vegetarian diet and heart health.

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By Dolly M George

26 Jan, 2018

#Dietitian



Considering going vegetarian? Be rest assured—a  plant-based diet has many health benefits, including lowering the risk for heart disease, hypertension and more.


There are several variations and definitions when talking about vegetarian diet.


You cut out all meat, egg and dairy products, leaving only plant-based foods in a total vegetarian or vegan diet.
Lacto-vegetarians exclude meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, but do include dairy products, while, Lacto-ovo-vegetarians exclude meat, poultry, and fish but do include eggs and dairy products.


How vegetarian diets can be healthy for your heart?
Most  vegetarian diets tend to be low or free of animal products and are also  generally lower in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol when compared to a non-vegetarian diet that increase your risk of heart disease.


Moreover, a vegan diet can make it much easier for you to get enough vegetables in your diet and it’s well established that a diet rich in vegetables can furnish higher levels of fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and phytochemicals. As a result, vegan diets are likely to lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower blood pressure and lower body mass index (BMI), all of which are associated with a reduced risk for heart disease.


Studies suggest that vegetarians have decreased rates of obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease and certain cancers. They also have fewer issues with blood pressure and heart attacks.


However, just being vegetarian isn't necessarily heart healthy always!


Being vegetarian cannot be heart healthy  always, unless your diet is carefully planned to include all essential nutrients.  Any type of vegetarian diet should include a wide variety of foods to meet your  nutritional requirements. Also, you still need to watch out for things like added salt, sugar, saturated fats, trans fat and refined grains.

 
If you find it difficult to be a total vegan, you can device a flexible diet plan by not having to go all the way.


Try following a Mediterranean-style diet, which is rich in plant-based foods and doesn't emphasize on meat.

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